To be a pilgrim

Dear all

Some of you may remember the Diocesan newspaper which was a free distribution newspaper. It was called ‘The Wey’. It ceased publication some months ago now and in its place we have a brand new quarterly magazine for the Guildford Diocese called ‘Living Church’. I can recommend it! The first issue is here and you can pick up your own copy in both Capel and Ockley churches. There are several very interesting articles and one which caught my eye was one on the ancient practice of pilgrimage. It seems that increasing numbers are choosing to go on a pilgrimage and numbers are increasing. In the last decade 30 pilgrimage routes have been created or rediscovered in this country alone. In Europe the number of visitors to Santiago de Compostela has grown so much that more than 300,000 people or should we say pilgrims (!) walked the Camino in 2017. You may have caught a documentary on television before Easter which filmed a lovely but disparate group of people who tackled parts of it. It certainly looked gruelling! However, these days you can travel by coach and walk parts of it; I think that would be easier, but I’m not ruling out doing it myself one of these days if I am ever afforded the luxury of a Sabbatical! Good to have a goal anyway…. It is interesting though when overall church attendance is apparently in decline, the number of people going on these pilgrimages is increasing. Perhaps its attraction is being outdoors, amongst nature, God’s creation and of course it is in a sense praying on the move, even if you don’t necessarily recognise it as prayer. One of the benefits of going on pilgrimage is the fact that one is released from everyday concerns and routines. Becoming a pilgrim takes us out of ourselves, into activity and in the fresh air. One of the advantages I used to find of regularly walking our dogs when we had them, was that however much you didn’t feel like walking beforehand, after half an hour walk, my brain seemed to file everything away that had concerned me and my mind felt much clearer. Well hopefully, we can do that with prayer also, maybe on the move, but in any other ways that we find helpful. This month we are concentrating on prayer quite a bit as we are responding to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York’s ‘Thy kingdom come’ global prayer initiative. The idea is to pray for the 10 days between Ascension Day and the Day of Pentecost, in order to see lives changed and refreshed. We have some lovely prayer resources in the churches for you to take away. There is a beautiful booklet of illustrated pocket prayers giving you a very simple prayer idea for each day. There is also a prayer journal for you to note your thoughts down as you pray for other people and finally a booklet giving you a more set pattern of morning and evening prayers. I have loads, they were all free and they are free for you to take and use or give to others who may be interested!

Also on the subject of prayer we are planning to meet fortnightly at either St Margaret’s or St John the Baptist at 9.30 on a Saturday morning. This is definitely user friendly and all are invited to come and join in led prayers for our new united parish and our lovely village communities. You will see the forthcoming dates in the church service list in this magazine but the first one for this month is May the 5th at Capel. If you have a request for prayer please let me know or put a note on the prayer board inside church.

Last but not least I am sure we are all looking forward to the royal wedding on the 19th May. With that in mind Messy Church have written a special session called Messy Wedding which we plan to run on Tuesday 15th May in the hall at Capel and at the usual time. We are going to be making wedding hats, decorating wine glasses, wedding cupcakes and my favourite, firing eco-friendly confetti out of a canon!! I’ll have to tell our wedding couples about that! All children accompanied by a grown up are welcome and if any grownups would like to come and join in or even be a helper, it will be a case of the more the merrier. With love and prayers Revd Liz